The hills are alive! But, not with the sound of music. No, they are alive with the sounds and colors of our garden. Whether it is the bees flying around the flowering plants, the wild turkeys puffing out their feathers, or the laughter of clients as they’re picking blueberries, there is always activity around the gardens. Afternoon rain showers and summer sun have nourished the fruits and vegetables into a lush bounty.
Red Oak Recovery’s groundbreaking “Nutritional Therapy” program gives clients the opportunity to learn about seed-to-plate food preparation during gardening and cooking classes with executive chef Sharon D. Through the practice of planting, caring for and then harvesting this food they gain insight into the metaphor that the growth cycle becomes for their recovery process.
Should you happen to walk in at the beginning of meal time, the only sound you’re likely to hear is the clinking of forks on plates. Not only is the food delicious, it has been prepared with mindfulness. Using the freshly harvested Red Oak vegetables, clients and chef together, prepare healthy, conscientious recipes that nourish physical healing. Our menu has been specifically designed to address the nutritional needs of clients in recovery.
While you may not be able to join us for a meal, we’d like to share one of our lunch menus with you as well as a recipe for kale or Swiss chard chips. As you enjoy, we encourage you to think about where your food comes from and how it’s grown.
Here is a sample Red Oak lunch menu followed by our recipe for kale or Swiss chard chips (so delicious, you would never know they are healthy!):
Black Bean and Vegetable Stew
Fresh Baked Cornbread
Kale and Swiss Chard Chips
Garden Lettuce and Vegetable Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette
Kale or Swiss Chard Chips
Our summer garden is teeming with vegetables here at Red Oak! This is a great use for our abundant dark green leafy vegetables – even people who say they do not like kale, love these chips! Kale chips are all the rage right now, but try them with Swiss Chard too – they are delicious and loaded with nutrition!
1 bunch Kale or Swiss Chard
1 T. olive oil or coconut oil
Salt, fresh ground pepper, spices
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove the leafy part of the green from the stem and cut or tear the kale or chard into pieces roughly 3-4” square. Wash the greens and then dry very thoroughly – the secret to crisp chips is dry greens!
Place the dried greens into a bowl and coat with the oil – lightly massage the greens to spread the oil throughout.
Spread the greens on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with spices, here are some variations to try:
-plain olive or coconut oil and salt
-olive oil, salt and pepper and a dusting of garlic powder and dried oregano
-coconut oil, salt and a dusting of curry powder
Bake for 15 minutes and check them – rotate the pan, if necessary, to ensure even baking – the chips are ready when they are dark green and crispy.
The chips are so good, they rarely make it to the table!